O’ My Lord, I thought I would never see this day! An Iranian media celebrity, Mr. Alireza Maibody has broken the 160 years old tradition of silence about the legitimate existance of the Bahaí Faith in Iran and has attended a conference in Chicago sponsored by the Bahaí community about the culture and literture of Iran! In this vedio which is published on You-Tube you can hear his reflections and impressions and passionate remarks about his remarkable expereince and the Bahaí community of Iran and its impressive global reputation!
As I watched him talk, I started to cry! Then I am asking myself; what is about what he is sayng that has made me so sad and also happy? So many global organizations and medias have spoken in praise of the Bahaí community and its contributions to the betterment of the world at large. So many governments and government officials of the world has publically expressed their admirations for the Bahaí community, its humanity and its civility. So many celebrities, scholars, even clergies from around the globe have spoken up in defense of the human rights of the Bahaís of Iran for so many years. What is so special about Mr. Maybody’s remarks that has moved the deepest corners of my heart? Then it dawned on me. This is so unprecedented, so unusual, so unexpected, so out of character from an Iranian Moslem media celebrity. This is ushering a new era!
Mr. Maybody’s sentiments brought into mind a very sharp and lifelong tragic expereince and contrast about my expereince as a Bahaí child and as a Bahaí youth growing up in Iran being afraid to speak out in school or in public about my Bahaí views or, heavens forbid, discuss my Bahaí beliefs! Blasphomy is not even the right word to explain the reaction and impression of my friends, teachers or classmates if i stood up and shared my views from a Bahaí perspective. My sorrow was about years of missed opportunities of learning and love. My sorrow was about all the contributions the Bahaís, Iranian and others wise, who could have made to the betterment of Iran and the progress of its peoples.
As a Bahaí I always yearned to serve Iran which has been the birthplace of the Faith I so much love and respect. But I also learned to resign to the fact that my neigbors, friends, teachers and classmates were ignorant and fearful of my views about what religion is and could be to me. I sadly accepted that none was interested or even curious about why I believe the way I believe. I sadly accepted that they are willing to be associating with me as long as I do not rock the boat of our friendship and leave them to their own irronious superstiscious biasis about the Bahaí Teachings. I remember my close friends becoming nervous when I visited their homes and defiling their dishes and furniture. They had to rinse the glasses I drank tea out of! It is sad to rememebr that my colleagues, closest friends in school and university, remained uninterested and ignorant about my deepest passions and love which was the teachings of the Bahaí Faith up to the day I left Iran. As a result we remained what one of my daughters parents used to call as “hamburger friends””; distant when it came to the most profound aspect of our lives. How sad it is when I look back. The religious prejucie and fear deprived me and the rest from being intimate and to collaborate to make a difference.
No wonder that this vedeo is a shocker for me and many Bahaís. In my experience, the subject of the defense of the Bahaís in Iran will remain exclusively associated with human rights advocates who are not Iranian. I have grown so accustomed to be perceived by my Iranian colleagues who are not Bahaís as invisible and irrelevant.
Hope this new revelation of breaking the silence will usher in a more substantive and real dialogue about the ways Bahaí views and expereince influences many diciplines and subjects of human concern.
Hope you enjoy and share the two part video of Iranian Anchor man, Mr. Alireza Maybody on You-tube about his first hand impressions of the Bahaí community and the violated human rights of the Bahaís in Iran by its educated and acclaimed for the past 160 years. Part two of the You-Tube video.